Podcasts on design

Today another designer on my team asked me:

Can you list me some design podcasts you’d recommend? I’m mainly thinking of web layout and fonts.

I love this question, because I spend my commutes and most of my solo time listening to podcasts. I’m seriously addicted: I listen to an average of about 3–4 podcasts per day.

That said, a few of my current favorite podcasts on design (and two wild cards I couldn’t not mention) are:

Design Details

Great show that interviews a design each week, usually from the field of product design. The first show of the Spec Network, which has a quite a few other great podcasts about design and development. On Design Details, they tend to start with learning how each interviewee got their start in design (spoiler alert: it’s usually because of Neopets). Then, they tend to get into really insightful, helpful, and memorable conversations.

Immutable

Another Spec Network show, hosted by a product designer and an iOS developer. It started out as a Q&A about design and development, and those episodes had some really great advise about everything from selecting a color palette to dealing with work stress. Recently, it has since turned into a show where the hosts just chat about what they’re working on and learning. These types of shows can sometimes be boring, but these two hosts are doing really interesting things, from starting a community chat product to designing a collaborative whiteboard app to building furniture from scratch.

Working File

A discussion panel show on the deeper topics of design, like ethics, self-worth, management, and more. The two main hosts started this as an offshoot of their previous show On the Grid, a design discussion show, and invite two other designers for each show to keep conversations fresh and thoughtful.

High Definition

A show I’ve only just found. It’s another interview show with designers from Silicon Valley tech companies, but they’re getting some really top-level folks, so it’s very promising.

Shop Talk Show

A classic show on front-end design and development, from Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier (of ccs-tricks fame). Most of the time, they answer code questions, and occasionally they host an interview or panel show about deeper topics, like ethics in design.

Toolsday

A new show from Una Kravets and Chris Dhanaraj, both of whom I am lucky enough to know through IBM Design (though Una now works at Digital Ocean). They talk about dev tools they love, and new topics in front-end design, like SVG, CSS Grid, React, and gifv.

Accidental Tech Podcast

This one is a guilty pleasure. I imagine that how I feel listening to this is how 24-hour news network addicts feel listening to AM radio talk shows. Three nerds talk at exhaustive length about Apple, Mac, programming, and sometimes random other things they care about, like the Nintendo Switch or what kind of car they’re driving. It’s also got possibly the greatest podcast theme song.

99% Invisible

A classic. It covers all areas of design, from architecture to comic books to vexillology.

Song Exploder

An enthralling breakdown of a song, from the artist/producer. If you’ve ever tried to make music, whether on an acoustic guitar or on a computer, you’ll love hearing the depth that goes into songs you may have only enjoyed at surface level. Even if you haven’t made music before, you’ll probably still enjoy hearing this. :) It makes you appreciate the songs covered so much more deeply.

Planet Money

Not really a show about design. Not even really a show about “money,” exactly. However, I was talking with a designer friend recently, and we agreed that this may be the single most consistently perfect podcast we know of: every episode is about 15–20 minutes and teaches something unexpected and fascinating (and somehow connected to the economy) in an easily accessible way. Did you know that a T-shirt has about 7 miles of thread woven into it? Planet Money recently made T-shirts, and made a few episodes tracing the production from farm to factory.


Know of any other amazing design or development (other topics are great, too) podcasts? Let me know!

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